If you are a fan of NBC’s The Good Place, you, like the rest of us, fell in love with quirky Jason Mendoza. Who could forget his signature one-liners? We can thank Manny Jacinto and his talent for making Jason a layered, funny, memorable character that brought us all so much joy. As Manny and I start our Zoom call, I am immediately put at ease by his calm and welcoming energy. “I love your glasses,” I say, to which he compliments mine.
As we ease into our chat, I get a sense that Jacinto is a thoughtful, rising star who takes great care of balancing his growing spotlight and maintaining a comforting level of privacy within his personal life. Ahead, Jacinto chats about his skincare routine (it’s a really good one), wellness practices, and latest project, Nine Perfect Strangers, which premiered on Hulu in August.
What is your skincare routine like? Do you have one?
I have to give all credit to my fiancée because she is the one with immaculate skin. She’s the one that’s been able to guide me through everything. In terms of skincare, it’s been a journey, for sure, because I was a kid with pretty bad skin. I went through the whole Accutane phase and did very drastic things to try and get the acne down. But, right now, I use a cleanser from Belif to wipe everything off. Then, I use the SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray ($28) by Tower 28. It’s something that really calms down inflammation. Then after that, I use Tatcha's Violet-C Brightening Serum ($88). That has been a game-changer in terms of evening things out. And also, vitamin C is huge for antioxidants and trying to get rid of those free radicals. Then, I use the Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb ($48) and a facial moisturizer from Laneige.
Okay, that’s a solid routine!
Yeah. Very particular. And then the last thing is sunscreen. I use the Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 ($69). I always try to use SPF 50, especially here in LA. The only thing that changes for my nighttime routine is that I take out the sunscreen and vitamin C. I’ll maybe switch it out for the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($99). When I’m working, I’m usually pretty stressed, and I don’t get a lot of sleep, and I’m prone to blemishes and acne and whatnot, so I need something more radical, which is the iS Clinical Active Serum.
Do you find that when you’re working your diet is a big part of that too?
Absolutely. I started carrying around a HydroFlask every day since the third season of The Good Place. It’s 64 ounces. I try and drink a gallon a day—so two of these a day. By doing this, I’ve noticed that my mind’s a lot more clear. My skin is a lot more supple because of the water intake. I also try to stay away from sugar when I shoot. I do have a big sweet tooth, so it can be tempting. But, I try to avoid sugar, especially processed sugar, because I feel like it affects how I’m able to memorize lines and even be present with people.
That’s a good practice. Because wellness is a big part of this new show, do you have any daily rituals or practices that you start or end your day with?
Absolutely. I wake up and consume some Chaga mushrooms. It’s an adaptogen, and it comes in a drop form. I put two drops in my mouth, and it will just calm me down from the jump. Then, I drink a large jar of lemon water to clear things out. After that, I will try and meditate for 10 minutes. That’s how I try to start every day. Sometimes, I’ll wake up, and somebody’s calling me, and my routine is out the door.
How did you get into meditation? I’m just starting, and I know it can be difficult to train the mind not to wonder.
I’m a big self-help absorber. I’m a sucker for anything self-help. Whether through podcasts or books, I've noticed that many creators and people in their field have done amazing things. The common thread is that they meditate. They take the time to focus and clear their minds so they can tackle the day how they want to rather than be pulled in different directions.
Do you have any hobbies that help you practice mindfulness?
Exercise. Lifting weights or cardio is big, but I think one of the biggest things within [my] exercise routine is yoga. There are maybe some naysayers about this, but hot yoga, in particular, has been very beneficial for me because I like a good sweat. And if I can’t get into a hot yoga session, I go to the sauna. For some reason, after sweating, I feel calm and less anxious and open.
I’m not sure how much you can say about your character on the show, but can you tell us a little bit about Yao?
Yao acts as the moral compass or straight arrow in the trio that is Tranquil. So within the trio, there’s Masha that’s played by Nicole Kidman, there’s Delilah, who Tiffany Boone plays, and then myself. So within that trio, Yao is who tries to keep the ship from sinking. But then he has his inner conflicts and demons he’s dealing with in interactions with Masha and Delilah. That little triangle has its own set of conflicts, and there’s some turbulence within that trio's relationship. But, at the same time, he needs to keep a straight face and keep it together for the nine perfect strangers.
What was it like working with the cast of actors?
I don’t know if it’s cliché to say, but being around these vets and professionals was a masterclass. You have Nicole [Kidman, who is] mainly drama but can also do comedy. And you have Melissa [McCarthy, who is] mainly comedy but can kill drama, you know? And then you have Michael [Shannon], who just does everything. And you just absorb it all. You just try and take in and try to be in their space. It was a dream to be able to work with all these people. And it was a dream just to be able to pick their brains and talk to them as human beings.
What is bringing you joy right now?
Our dog. We adopted her during the pandemic. She’s a pandemic baby. But she’s older. She’s middle-aged. The presence and joy that the dog gives you is pretty incredible. Do you have a dog yourself, Bianca? Do you have any pets?
I have a family dog in Atlanta, and I miss him all the time. But I think I’m eventually going to adopt a dog.
Yeah, they’re so many out there that need a home. I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that will bring you so much joy.